I am a freelance book editor who works with books at every step in their development, from rough draft to bookshelf.
After getting my start as an intern at Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, I worked in New York book publishing on both the editorial and agency side of the business. In editorial at Little, Brown and Company I was lucky to work on high quality fiction and nonfiction by authors such as Daniel Woodrell, Sam Kean, and Paul Lynch. As a literary agent at Barer Literary (now part of The Book Group), I managed my own client list, including Garrard Conley's New York Times Bestselling Memoir Boy Erased, along with providing editorial services for nearly all of the agency’s clients, including novels by Paula McLain, Lily King, Celeste Ng, and Madeline Miller.
I went freelance in 2015, and have since enjoyed the flexibility to work on many different kinds of books for major publishers--including imprints of Harper Collins, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, and Penguin Random House--literary agents, and editorial firms, along with independent authors at all stages of the writing and publishing process.
I grew up in the mountains of Western North Carolina, and I’m now based in Durham, NC, where I live with my wife Lara and my dog Buff.
One of the best things about being a freelance editor is the range of books and authors I get to work with, so I don’t like to draw too many hard distinctions about what kinds of projects I take on. I specialize in literary fiction, but I love crossover genre fiction as well. On the nonfiction side, I work on both proposals and full manuscripts for memoir, biography, history, science, and various kinds of practical nonfiction. I am generally not the right editor for YA or inspirational fiction and nonfiction.
I am comfortable working with authors at every part of the publishing process. Whether you've got a rough first draft and want help getting the major moving parts of a novel to fit together, or you need an in-depth line edit to put on the finishing touches before publication, I can help you to come up with an editorial package that makes sense for your book.
In addition to editorial services, I also consult with authors on how best to navigate the publishing process. Publishing can be intimidating and opaque to authors who are approaching it for the first time, and I’m happy to lend my experience to demystify things and help my clients get their books out into the world in the best way possible.
Books I've Worked On
"William helped me shape Boy Erased into a book that would catch the attention of a Riverhead editor I continue to work with today. He helped me examine the scope of my memoir's vision, all the while helping to shape the tone and grammar of the story. He was absolutely essential to every step of the writing process." -- Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased
"Adept and insightful, William is an editor any writer would be lucky to have on their side. His precise and surgical edits elevate my novel to a level I wouldn't have been able to achieve on my own. He is thorough and perceptive. The depth of his understanding of my work and goals is astonishing. Having worked with William, my novel found its perfect home at Europa Editions. This year, I returned to his expertise for my second novel. With any luck, I will be back with a third. William has me as a lifelong client." -- Abbigail N. Rosewood, author of If I Had Two Lives